A strong and inspired central performance by Javier Barden playing a hustler who is dying of cancer holds the film together.
He cares for his two children on his own while dealing with illegal African immigrant street sellers, Chinese sweatshop workers and labourers and a divorced wife with a bi-polar condition. The cinematography in the poorer parts of Barcelona add to the downbeat tone of the film which Bardem's efforts at treating the immigrants fairly fail to overcome. There is a
more coherent film to the film because it focuses on Bardem then was apparent in Inarritu's last two films 21 Grams and Babel
but this is more a film to be admired than liked.